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EC urges Hungary to comply with directives

EU

The European Commission has formally requested that Hungary ensure correct implementation and application of directives related to energy and gas, the internal market and simple pressure vessels, the EC said in its monthly package of infringement decisions published yesterday. If Hungary fails to do so, it may be referred to the Court of Justice. 

The EC has formally requested Hungary ensure the correct implementation and application of the Electricity (Directive 2009/72/EC) and Gas Directives (Directive 2009/73/EC), urging Hungary to fully comply with the so-called Third Energy Package. The directives part of the package “contain key legal provisions which allow energy markets to function properly, including rules on the unbundling of the transmission network operators from energy suppliers and producers, on strengthening the independence and the powers of national regulators and on provisions benefitting consumers”.

According to the EC, “current Hungarian gas legislation still allows the Hungarian government to determine some of the terms and conditions for connection and access to national networks, the terms and conditions for the provision of balancing services, and the terms and conditions for access to cross-border infrastructures.” The EC stressed that such “exclusive competences” should belong to national regulatory authorities. The EC added that it sees the “national legislation excludes certain types of costs from the calculation of network electricity and gas tariffs”.

Despite having spent a formal notice to Hungary in February 2015, the commission claims no compliance with EU laws has been put in place, therefore a reasoned opinion is now being sent. Hungary has two months to inform the EC of the measures taken to remedy the situation, following which the EC has the authority to decide to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the EU.

Internal market

Hungary has also been listed among six member states – the others being Cyprus, Finland, Ireland, Portugal and the United Kingdom – requested to transpose four directives into national law, which set the rules that allow measuring instruments – from weighing scales or utility meters for water, gas, electricity and heat to taximeters – to be calibrated uniformly across the EU.

“All four Directives should have been fully transposed into national legislation of member states by 19 April 2016 for Directives 2014/31/EU, 2014/32/EU and 2015/13; and by 30 November 2015 for Directive 2011/17/EU,” the EC says. “The six member states concerned have not yet communicated the complete transposition of these Directives into their national laws to the Commission.” Hungary and the other five members have two months to notify the EC of the full transposition of the directives, or they may be referred to the Court of Justice of the EU.

Simple pressure vessels

The EC has also sent a reasoned opinion to Hungary requesting it “transpose the directive on simple pressure vessels (Directive 2014/29/EU), which concerns compressed air or energy storage units, such as those used in braking equipment for motor vehicles and trains”. The directive has been established with the aim of enhancing the quality and safety of simple pressure vessels, particularly by allowing the tracing of defective products, as well as to clarify responsibilities for manufacturers, importers and distributors, and improves the supervision of such products by conformity assessment bodies before entering the EU market.

The directive should have been transposed into national legislation by April 19, though Hungary has not yet informed the EC whether it applied the transposition into national law. Therefore Hungary is left with two months to answer the EC’s query; otherwise the matter might be referred to the Court of Justice of the EU.

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